Thursday, March 23, 2006


My last post was post 100. Yippe. Let's celebrate....big party....right? Whatever.... I've been blogging for about 10 months now, or 300+ days. So that means I'm posting at the rate of about 1 post every 3 days. Well o.k., the truth of the matter is I've slowed down significantly from those heady, early days when I thought I had a lot to say. I was posting almost every day, and occassionally I posted more than once a day! Now I'm posting about once a week or so. I still have a lot to say, but the truth of the matter is, I'm lazy. Plus, I tend to have some rather "strong" views on things, and I'm pretty sure I've completely offended the 3 people who used to read my blog and run them off entirely. Which means that I'm now posting to absolutely no one - which is rather like talking to yourself, isn't it? And we all know what they say about people who talk to themselves.

I never was very good at keeping a diary when I was a kid. I always lost interest after a while and the journal just gathered dust until I went back and read it, realized what complete dreck it was and threw it away.

I don't know....I didn't start this blog with the expectation that anyone would actually read it. I started it as a little bit of therapy for myself. And I think I still need that. I need a place to vent and write about things that mean something to me, even if they don't mean anything to anyone else. So I'm not going anywhere. I'll just post when I feel like it - I just hope I feel like it more often that I have lately. I don't know we'll see.

Random thought going through my head as I typed this: I started 12 sentences in this post with the word "I". My English teacher in 11th grade would have been appalled.

Friday, March 17, 2006

On First Causes

The "Quick Vote" Poll question on CNN today asks, "Do you believe science can explain how the universe began?" The question is being asked because scientists released findings today about the so-called background radiation that is believed to be the remnants of the Big Bang. Scientists collected data from a satellite observatory launched in 2001 and designed specifically to detect that radiation. Apparently, the results allow scientists to describe the conditions of the universe
one one-trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. That's as close to the Big Bang itself as scientists have gotten. But the question, "what caused the Big Bang?" (or "how did the Big Bang happen?") remains unanswered.

This is the question of First Cause (or Original Cause). It is the question of the existence of God/a god/a creator/a creative force. Do someone/something set everything into motion, or did the universe come into being randomly, or is there some great unknown law of physics that requires that universe exist? If someone "caused" the Big Bang did that someone continue to have a hand in the development of the universe (and in particular in the development of life here on earth) or is everything that has happened since the Big Bang just the pre-determined events that the laws of physics require?

I think ultimately this where the our knowledge and understanding of the universe reaches its limits. My feeling is that the laws of science can't answer the question of first cause. That here we must cross the line of science and rationality into the realm of faith, spirituality and metaphysics.

I do believe there is a "creator" who set things in motion and influenced the course of events that shaped the universe thereafter. I do not believe this creater continues to influence our little corner of creation.

And that is what I believe, and I have nothing more to say on this matter. For now anyway.

Friday, March 10, 2006

More From the Science Geek

I just can't help it - I LOVE this stuff! It really brings out the kid in me. So what is this a picture of? The sun during an eclipse? Nope. I'll give you a hint. The ethereal white streaks in the lower right hand corner - they're not (strictly speaking) rays of light. Rather they are gigantic plumes of water vapor being ejected from powerful geyesers. So what are we seeing in the picture? Give up? Well, it's a picture of Saturn's moon Enceladus of course. Or, to be fair, how could you possibly have known? This is the first time such a phenomenon has been captured. In fact this is the first clear evidence of the present existence of liquid water any where in our solar system other than right here on earth. There is plenty of evidence that liquid water once flowed on the surface of Mars, but it's not there anymore. Scientists suspect that Jupiter's moon Europa is covered by a great water ocean, but it is covered by a solid layer of ice. But now, here are images of liquid water erupting from the surface of a moon of Saturn. Apparently, although the surface temperature of Enceladus is about -300 degrees Celsius, there are large pockets of water below the surface that, due to the tidal forces of Saturn's gravity, and radiation energy, are warmed up to a toasty 0 degrees Celsius. And because of the pressure the water is under, it remains in liquid form. There is so much pressure in fact that from time to time apparently, geyesers are formed and water explodes from below the surface to create the plumes captured in this photo.
A closer view of Enceladus's surface reveals big fissures that scientists believe are cracks created by this liquid water underneath the moon's surface.

What is so impressive about this? Well, where there is liquid water, there is the chance of life. Life exists on earth in water in conditions much more severe than those that seem to exists underneath the surface of Enceladus.

We're getting closer folks. I'm beginning to strongly believe that we are going to discover extra-terrestrial life in my lifetime. Sure, most likely it won't be much more than some VERY primitive bacteria-like organisms, but it's coming. And when it does our view of the universe will never be the same.

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